PH Balancing Your Blood – Acidic and Alkaline Foods

Dear doctor,

I have a question about PH balancing your blood – the acid/alkaline diet. What do you think about it and how do you suggest that one easily eats being mindful of acid/alkaline foods?



Hi Blaire!

Thank you for your question.

The basis for concern with an “acidic diet” is largely theoretical, but that is not to say it is without merit. At this time we lack sufficient studies to confirm the hypothesis that an acidic diet promotes osteoporosis and other chronic diseases. A meta-analysis published in Nutrition Journal (April 2011) concluded that studies done in this area have not done enough to control for other potential causal factors and so no definitive conclusions can be made.

The hypothesis is based on this physiologic principle — systemic pH is VERY tightly regulated by the body. Stated another way: the body will go to great lengths, including compromising other functions, to preserve a pH of 7.3, which is critical for proper enzymatic function. The body does not actually become acidic or alkaline.

To maintain pH at the needed level, buffers such as minerals stored in bone are drawn into the blood to prevent a drop in pH. If one consumes a diet with acidic metabolites (high sugar, unrefined carbs, excessive protein, etc) over a long period of time, there is a potential for decreased bone density due to the continuous utilization of bone minerals to maintain pH. The body also relies on the kidneys to filter the blood and excrete excess acidic products, and so eating acidic foods may lead to stress on the kidneys, which can be linked to another chronic disease.

The second part of your question is more clear cut. If you wish to be mindful of acid/alkaline foods, it is best to avoid sugar, excessive animal protein, coffee, and alcohol, and limit your consumption of refined grains and dairy. You may also choose to increase your intake of dark green leafy vegetables, and eat more calcium-rich foods such as almonds and sesame seeds.

Dr. Shayna Keller


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